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Thread: Does this meet the requirement for justified shooting?

  1. #1
    Regular Member simmonsjoe's Avatar
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    Does this meet the requirement for justified shooting?

    SULLY DISTRICT STATIO�� (DISTRICT 1)
    COMMERCIAL ROBBERY: A man robbed a pharmacist at Walgreens, located at 13926 Lee
    Highway, on Sunday, August 8, at 10:44 p.m. The suspect reportedly passed a note to the
    employee implying a weapon and demanding Oxycodone. The employee complied and the
    suspect fled the store. The suspect was described as white, 22 to 27 years old. He was between 5
    feet 6 inches and 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed 130 to 150 pounds. He had brown hair. He was
    wearing a black motorcycle jacket with a white logo on the front and baggy, blue jeans.
    ---------
    This happens often. Especially at banks. The question I'm pondering is general in nature and is not specific to this case.

    If someone hands you a note, you may or may not think there is an immediate threat to life. It is either someone armed trying to maintain a low profile, or someone who is bluffing, and hoping you'll go along with company policy. In my opinion, it is kinda like pointing an empty gun at me. I have no choice but to believe you and act accordingly. You are still coercing me through threat of lethal force.

    Personally, I am not a police officer, and my assailants well-being is not my concern. My general policy is if I'm going to shoot you there will be no warning. (I'm not giving up any advantage I have, no matter how small).

    Combining these two principles of mine, I come to the conclusion if someone were ever to slip me a note across the counter that said "give me the money and nobody gets hurt" or something to the effect, and they have nothing in your hands, and are just standing there waiting, there would be a probability I'd just shoot them till incapacitation w/o a word. (Obviously there are no absolutes and it all depends on what I perceive from the assailant.)

    Thoughts on the morality and legality of this conclusion? Please no bashing as I am not advocating this, but looking for a good open and honest discussion about it.
    Last edited by simmonsjoe; 08-17-2010 at 05:36 PM.
    illegal ≠ immoral legal ≠ moral
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  2. #2
    Regular Member 45acpForMe's Avatar
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    In my opinion you would be justified. Now after the incident, if the bad-guy was found to have a gun you would be a hero. If no gun was on them I think the court of public opinion would brand you as a "gun"-raving-lunatic. After all the poor "victim" came from a hard life and was just turning their lives around....

    I wonder if you drew and waited for their reaction (run, piss their pants, or draw a gun) then fire if necessary. Of course that hesitation could get you killed.

    Since most work places (where a note like this would be passed) ban guns it is a moot point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by simmonsjoe View Post
    SULLY DISTRICT STATIO􏰀 (DISTRICT 1)
    COMMERCIAL ROBBERY: A man robbed a pharmacist at Walgreens, located at 13926 Lee
    Highway, on Sunday, August 8, at 10:44 p.m. The suspect reportedly passed a note to the
    employee implying a weapon and demanding Oxycodone. The employee complied and the
    suspect fled the store. The suspect was described as white, 22 to 27 years old. He was between 5
    feet 6 inches and 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed 130 to 150 pounds. He had brown hair. He was
    wearing a black motorcycle jacket with a white logo on the front and baggy, blue jeans.
    ---------
    This happens often. Especially at banks. The question I'm pondering is general in nature and is not specific to this case.

    If someone hands you a note, you may or may not think there is an immediate threat to life. It is either someone armed trying to maintain a low profile, or someone who is bluffing, and hoping you'll go along with company policy. In my opinion, it is kinda like pointing an empty gun at me. I have no choice but to believe you and act accordingly. You are still coercing me through threat of lethal force.

    Personally, I am not a police officer, and my assailants well-being is not my concern. My general policy is if I'm going to shoot you there will be no warning. (I'm not giving up any advantage I have, no matter how small).

    Combining these two principles of mine, I come to the conclusion if someone were ever to slip me a note across the counter that said "give me the money and nobody gets hurt" or something to the effect, and they have nothing in your hands, and are just standing there waiting, there would be a probability I'd just shoot them till incapacitation w/o a word. (Obviously there are no absolutes and it all depends on what I perceive from the assailant.)

    Thoughts on the morality and legality of this conclusion? Please no bashing as I am not advocating this, but looking for a good open and honest discussion about it.
    I would feel comfortable morally killing the SOB but would not feel comfortable legally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GULCer View Post
    SNIP I...would not feel comfortable legally.
    I don't actually know, and I'm not a lawyer, but I think we can take a clue from the law.

    As far as I know, the robber gets charged with armed robbery if he presents only a note saying he has a gun, instead of actually presenting a gun. If the law says it is armed robbery to use only a note, then perhaps the lawfully armed citizen/intended victim can treat it as armed robbery, too.

    I'd be sure the note didn't blow away in the wind after the shooting, though. It is your only evidence, if it turns out the robber did not have a gun. Of course, most robbers in the street, parking lot, or living room probably aren't going to hand you a note. I'm guessing that sort of thing is for stores and banks.

  5. #5
    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    There's not enough info present in the scenario to give an accurate response.

    ETA - on its face, I'd say that you are not justified....yet.
    Last edited by ProShooter; 08-17-2010 at 08:18 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProShooter View Post
    There's not enough info present in the scenario to give an accurate response.
    What elements seem missing?

  7. #7
    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    Under NC law (case and statute) i'd venture to guess that this would be a justifiable self-defense shoot.

    Under NC law, if a "reasonable person would conclude that there was a deadly threat" then it is justified.

    Some thug passing a note demanding money/drugs/whatever, and stating in the note that they had a gun seems like something a "reasonable person" could take as a clear and deadly threat...

    And under NC law, written notes implying a death threat are a crime as well--"Uttering threats" is a violation of NC law.

    If you shot someone in this situation, keep the note, and be sure that the detective on the scene gets it as part of the investigation...

    Of course, in other states, YMMV...
    Last edited by Dreamer; 08-17-2010 at 08:35 PM.
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  8. #8
    Regular Member MSC 45ACP's Avatar
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    I think if you shot someone with a piece of paper in their hand and no weapon, YOU are going to JAIL. I doubt you're justified shooting someone unless there is an actual weapon brandished. This situation is definitely a place where you would want an intermediate use-of-force weapon like OC (pepper spray) or an ASP.
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    However, like most of us, as I go through my daily life, I carry something a bit more compact, with a lot less power."
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSC 45ACP View Post
    I think if you shot someone with a piece of paper in their hand and no weapon, YOU are going to JAIL. I doubt you're justified shooting someone unless there is an actual weapon brandished. This situation is definitely a place where you would want an intermediate use-of-force weapon like OC (pepper spray) or an ASP.
    I'm thinking a little differently. Of course, what we really need is some case law. Otherwise we are just going around in circles. But, since I'm a little dizzy already this evening, I'll keep going with the discussion.

    I'm thinking that first, it is not just a street encounter type of situation. The fact that a demand instead of payment is made across a merchant counter immediately puts it into the realm of theft.

    I'm betting it is the threat that makes it a robbery. I vaguely recall that it is the threat or fact of violence that distinguishes robbery. As opposed to, say, purse snatching or shoplifting.

    Once a weapon is mentioned, even if not displayed, I'm in the same camp as the poster above about how a reasonable and prudent person would interpret the communication, whether verbal or passed in a note.

    If he had one hand in a pocket, I would assume he had a gun in there. You almost have to. Whether you give him the money depends on the same potential as whether you shoot him--you have to assume he has a gun. Nice people don't pass robbery notes.

    If he has neither hand in a pocket, I suppose you could always risk it by stepping back, drawing, and sighting on his center of mass and then demanding he leave. The risk is that he may then produce a gun and shoot you, even if you have already mortally wounded him by the time he gets his gun into action.

    The note creates jeopardy. His proximity creates opportunity. What seems missing is certainty about the element of ability. I kinda don't think the law requires us to anger a potentially armed robber into maybe shooting us by badgering him into first showing us the gun. Also, I think the note alone satisfies the threat of violence angle for the legal definition of robbery. Plenty of bank robbers in jail for passing a note about a gun or a bomb.

    Also, there is a little angle I learned about from one of Massad Ayoobs video. I forget what he called it. Something about the robber's knowledge. His example was a bad guy in your house, empty handed, facing your gun, walking towards you saying he is going to take the gun away from you and make you eat it. The main point being that you don't know if the robber has special forces or martial arts training in disarming techniques, so you are justified in assuming the bad guy knows enough to do what he says he is going to do.

    Applied to the OP scenario, the guy passed a note saying he was armed. Hell, he ought to know. If it is good enough for him, it should be good enough for me.

    Also, if a note is good enough to lock up a bank robber for 7-10 years, it should be good enough for me.

  10. #10
    Regular Member MSC 45ACP's Avatar
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    Citizen;
    You use the same "Use of Force" continuum I learned almost 30 years ago. Under the rules I learned, all three sides of the triangle must be present: Ability, Opportunity and Jeopardy.

    We are placed in JEOPARDY (or danger) by the BG's note stating he has a gun and intends to use it. He is walking and talking and states that he will do us serious bodily harm or cause death if we don't do as he says.

    Does he have ABILITY? He has the ability to do us bodily harm with his hands and feet alone, without even brandishing the weapon his note says he has. I don't see a weapon, but with two sides of the triangle, I certainly feel justified in drawing my weapon and using verbal directions of my own: Take your hands out of your pockets. Raise your hands above your head. Turn around and face the wall (or whatever is in front of me that I am also facing, putting his back toward me). Don't @#$%& MOVE a muscle! etc... If he closes within reach of a knife or other hand-held weapon, he has OPPORTUNITY.

    By his compliance with task direction, his OPPORTUNITY has gone away.

    If he chooses to disregard task direction and advances toward me or he grips something in his pocket that could be shaped like a pistol, THEN I would do my best Mozambique and see what happens... By his advancing (or attacking) he has completed the triangle with the OPPORTUNITY to do us harm.

    A threat of bodily harm lands someone in jail for a period of time. Sometimes. Specifically, if someone presents a note at a bank that he has a gun and to give him money or else he will shoot someone, he has committed a Felony.

    Is it also a Felony for someone in line behind you at WalMart to say "I'm going to take your pistol from you and stick it where the sun doesn't shine"?

    Does threatening an OCer (or CCer) with bodily harm earn them a death sentence? We need to be pretty darn certain of our own Use of Force before we make the decision to carry a firearm. It is a life or death decision (for yourself and everyone else around you) every time you load your pistol and put it on your hip (or purse, shoulder holster, ankle, wherever). Sure, it would be great fun to spray a Young Urban Professional (criminal) with OC spray and watch him writhing on the ground, crying like a baby while demonstrating his amazing vocabulary of profanity as loud as possible while you calmly call 911. You could also be charged with any number of crimes for your administration of this LTL (Less-Than-Lethal) level of force if you aren't able to articulate a very good reason for spraying the lad. You know his preacher, baby mommas, sisters, brothers and cousins will be telling WAVY News at 6 about his fine performance as First Tenor at First Baptist Church (even if he hasn't set foot in that church since his parents were married). You will be the "Redneck with the gun just itching for a fight".

    Think long and hard about every possibility whenever your surroundings change. Am I crazy for thinking about possible scenarios every few minutes of the day? Some probably think so. Are we prepared or are we paranoid? Many of us have conveyed these thoughts and ideas for a long time. Anyone still reading my rants (that hasn't put me on "ignore" yet) is probably getting tired of the same ol' thing from me month after month. For those of you that have tired of my long-windedness: Please accept my humble apologies.

    I pray every day: "Please let me not have to pull the trigger today" (because it is guranteed to result in a lot of paperwork, and I HATE PAPERWORK).
    "If I know that I am headed for a fight, I want something larger with more power, preferably crew-served.
    However, like most of us, as I go through my daily life, I carry something a bit more compact, with a lot less power."
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  11. #11
    Regular Member simmonsjoe's Avatar
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    talking **** ≠ robbery

    I don't see the two as similar MSC45. I feel the robbery is a distinguishing factor.
    illegal ≠ immoral legal ≠ moral
    [SIZE=1]"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. "Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent." - Thomas Jefferson
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    IANAL..but he has threatened me.

    That means he decided to take the consequences of that threat. And as this is an Open Carry forum, either he was:
    1.) blind (didn't see the gun?) and had someone help him write the note,
    2.) Stupid (you can't cure that), but maybe he'd be smart enough when he DID see my toy to reconsider his threats, or
    3.) intent on putting a serious hurt on me...which means he's back up to number 2, but NOT smart enough to reconsider. That stupid IS curable through the high-speed application of lead.

    #3 is the one I'd be worried about.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    What are the conditions to be met in sucessfully using a justified/excusable affirmative defense to malicous wounding/homicide? Because that's probably what you are going to be doing if you shoot someone - no matter what the provocation they offered you to begin the altercation.

    Would the mythical "reasonable person", finding themself in your situation, believe they were in 1) imminent threat of 2) death or 3) serious bodily injury and 4) they were legally where they were while 5) having offered no provocation in the incident or, if a participant in mutual combat had 6) withdrawn and clearly indicated the desire to cease hostilities and 7) actually ceased the mutual combat?

    I think that covers the possible elements, but I might have missed one or two.

    To my mind the question comes down to whether or not the expressed (verbal or written) threat of the presence of a weapon would lend itself to the "reasaonable person" believing there was in fact an imminent threat. M brain keeps telling me that some jerk showering me with specks of spittle while yelling that he has a gun and is going to kill me is still one step shy of being "imminent".

    If his gun/knife/club/discombobulator ray is not visible I would probably not even think about the risk of a brandishing charge as I put my hand on my handgun, or even drew it and aimed for the sweet spot of choice. But I'm still not convinced that I am legally justified in pulling/pressing the trigger.

    Now, regarding the morality of any response I might make to being threatened with the presence of an as-yet unseen weapon -- let's just say I've never been accused of being a particularly moral person, and my scores on various and sundry tests for psychopathy scared the experts administering said tests.

    stay safe.

  14. #14
    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSC 45ACP View Post
    I think if you shot someone with a piece of paper in their hand and no weapon, YOU are going to JAIL. I doubt you're justified shooting someone unless there is an actual weapon brandished. This situation is definitely a place where you would want an intermediate use-of-force weapon like OC (pepper spray) or an ASP.
    In Virginia, the threat doesn't have to be real; it is your apprehension of an imminent threat that matters.

    That said, we can postulate all we like as to what we may or may not do, but the fact remains that we really don't know what we'd do in such a circumstance unless we have experience a similar incident in our past. The rational side of most probably would tell them to simply hand over the money, or drugs, and pray the perp doesn't decide to waste witnesses. Do keep in mind that a robbery is in itself, justification for the application of a deadly response (the other four being murder, rape, arson, and burglary). My own personal idea of how I might react - I flat don't know and I pray to God I never have to find out.

    INAL.
    Last edited by SouthernBoy; 08-18-2010 at 08:49 AM.
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    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post

    To my mind the question comes down to whether or not the expressed (verbal or written) threat of the presence of a weapon would lend itself to the "reasaonable person" believing there was in fact an imminent threat. M brain keeps telling me that some jerk showering me with specks of spittle while yelling that he has a gun and is going to kill me is still one step shy of being "imminent".
    Looks like Skid and I have connecting rooms at the Hotel Common Sense.

    They handed you a note. ok, got that. Where are their hands? Is there a hand in the pocket holding a bulky looking object that one would reasonable assume to be a handgun, based upon their note? Or, are both hands on the counter, nervously awaiting their bag of prescription booty? Until you see that gun, I agree that you are just shy of an imminent threat.
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    I did some googling and found this article similar to the situation in the OP. As some said before that if a gun was found you would be a hero but if not then a killer. In such a situation you would have to judge whether or not to try and defend yourself. Pull your gun and if he makes a move the fire. Remember that you shoot to stop the threat and that may include not even firing a shot. You pull your gun and he hits the floor before you can fire. I have often wondered if someone robs a bank with his finger in his coat pocket claiming that he had a gun would it stand up in court as being armed. I even asked a lawyer about it and he said no that it would not be armed robbery. Either way if you shoot in the OP's situation expect a long legal battle but morally I think you are right.

    http://www.gazettextra.com/weblogs/l...ite-no-weapon/

    MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin appeals court has upheld an armed robbery conviction against a man who robbed a bank but did not brandish a weapon.
    Roy Lee Rittman of Milwaukee argued he was not guilty of that charge since he did not display a dangerous weapon or say that he had one.
    Rittman handed the bank teller a note saying no one would get hurt if she gave him all her cash quietly and then reached in his pocket. He also warned the teller to "get down" and anyone "would get hurt" if they tried to stop him.
    The District 1 Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled the teller had a reasonable belief that Rittman was armed, and upheld the conviction.

  17. #17
    Regular Member ODA 226's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProShooter View Post
    Until you see that gun, I agree that you are just shy of an imminent threat.
    I agreed with you up until this statement.

    I'm not going to wait to see the gun. The moment he moves for his "gun", I'm drilling him. He has already stated his INTENT to use lethal force and under the law, if I, as a "reasonable and prudent man" BELIEVE that he has the INTENT and the MEANS to kill or severely injure me, I have the right to use lethal force to protect my life.

  18. #18
    Regular Member simmonsjoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ODA 226 View Post
    I agreed with you up until this statement.

    I'm not going to wait to see the gun. The moment he moves for his "gun", I'm drilling him. He has already stated his INTENT to use lethal force and under the law, if I, as a "reasonable and prudent man" BELIEVE that he has the INTENT and the MEANS to kill or severely injure me, I have the right to use lethal force to protect my life.
    +1

    People seem to watch too many movies. Just because you get the first shot in doesn't mean he won't get a lethal shot off.
    illegal ≠ immoral legal ≠ moral
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  19. #19
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    There are reasons why the connecting door between my room and ProShooter's room remains locked. (Besides those reasons, you perverts!)

    The original scenario says the presence of a weapon is implied. I have no reason to disbelieve the guy has a weapoin, but he has not produced it - yet. I'm not going to wait until his weapon is actually produced because I am a reasonable person who understands that once he starts to move his hand(s) towards where a weapon might be located things have moved from possible/probable to imminent. Now all I need to do is hope my draw, presentation, and trigger manipulation is faster than his.

    I'm not going to be worried about IF HE REALLY HAS a weapon. He told me he did. I, being that reasonable person, have no reason to disbelieve him. Even if it turns out he didn't actually, realy-truely-honestly have a weapon, it does not matter. What matters in the administration of justice, as well as the rule of law, is whether or not I was reasonable in believing he had a weapon and that at the time I shot him to stop the threat of imminent death or serious bodily harm that the threat was imminent.

    There's a guy in Oklahoma who is possibly going to have murder charges against him dropped http://newsok.com/oklahoma-county-da...rticle/3486336 after finding himself in essentially that predicament. However, it seems the charges are not going to be dropped because his shooting will be ruled as justified/ecusable but because of a technicality about one of the several shots he made in order to stop the threat.

    stay safe.

  20. #20
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Don't forget.... the bounty hunter never saw Han Solo's gun under the table, and that didn't work out too well for him either...

    I don't think a real criminal is going to have an issue with shooting a hole through his jacket pocket.

    TFred

  21. #21
    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProShooter View Post
    Until you see that gun, I agree that you are just shy of an imminent threat.

    Unless you're a cop.

    Then it can be a justifiable shoot if you're holding a cell phone,

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...ooting14m.html

    http://www.wsbtv.com/news/19381571/detail.html


    or a squirtgun,

    http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/...-92666574.html


    or a Vicki Weaver's baby...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lon_Horiuchi
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
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  22. #22
    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    There are reasons why the connecting door between my room and ProShooter's room remains locked. (Besides those reasons, you perverts!).
    I thought that it stayed locked because I snore too loudly, and I don't want to disturb your beauty sleep?

    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    What matters in the administration of justice, as well as the rule of law, is whether or not I was reasonable in believing he had a weapon and that at the time I shot him to stop the threat of imminent death or serious bodily harm that the threat was imminent.
    That is what I was getting at. I do not see that there was an imminent threat in the scenario presented.

    The OP stated:


    I come to the conclusion if someone were ever to slip me a note across the counter that said "give me the money and nobody gets hurt" or something to the effect, and they have nothing in your hands, and are just standing there waiting, there would be a probability I'd just shoot them till incapacitation w/o a word. (Obviously there are no absolutes and it all depends on what I perceive from the assailant.)

    Guy hands you a note, threatening some type of bodily harm, if you do not comply with his demand. He has nothing in his hands, and is just standing there waiting. If you "just shoot them till incapacitation", I think you'd be facing criminal charges. I see their threat as possible, probable, and real - but not immediate. That's just my 2 penny opinion, and its worth everything that you paid for it.
    James Reynolds

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  23. #23
    Regular Member simmonsjoe's Avatar
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    interesting points.

    If someone said "give me the money or I'll key your car," nobody would pay up.
    If someone said "give me the money or I'll give you a wedgie," nobody would pay up.
    A robbery is enforced by threat of death or grievous bodily injury.

    I would be hard pressed to assume "give me the money and nobody gets hurt" as anything less.

    I guess much of this will depend on the 'vibe' the guy gives off.

    "shoot till incapacity" was the wrong thing to say. I meant until the threat was no more. whether he runs, puts his hands up, or falls over, or does something to make me think he is not a threat.
    Last edited by simmonsjoe; 08-18-2010 at 05:10 PM.
    illegal ≠ immoral legal ≠ moral
    [SIZE=1]"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. "Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent." - Thomas Jefferson
    G19 Gen 4; Bersa Thunder 380; Sig Sauer P238; Kel-Tec su-16c

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProShooter View Post
    SNIP
    That is what I was getting at. I do not see that there was an imminent threat in the scenario presented.

    The OP stated:

    I come to the conclusion if someone were ever to slip me a note across the counter that said "give me the money and nobody gets hurt" or something to the effect, and they have nothing in your hands, and are just standing there waiting, there would be a probability I'd just shoot them till incapacitation w/o a word. (Obviously there are no absolutes and it all depends on what I perceive from the assailant.)

    Guy hands you a note, threatening some type of bodily harm, if you do not comply with his demand. He has nothing in his hands, and is just standing there waiting. If you "just shoot them till incapacitation", I think you'd be facing criminal charges. I see their threat as possible, probable, and real - but not immediate. That's just my 2 penny opinion, and its worth everything that you paid for it.
    (chuckle) I wonder how many of us were responding to the thread title question and news article, and how many to the OPs comments quoted here.

    No wonder we are debating so much. We're not all talking about the same thing. The OP changed the circumstances when he wrote the scenario to which he would shoot, leaving out the weapon, also known as the Ability part of Ability, Opportunity, Jeopardy/Intent.

    For myself, I was literally responding to the thread-title question, and the quoted news item which discusses a gun.

    Note to self: Double check the OP and see if the OPer changed something mid-text, and sort that out first. (we need a "shakes head while smiling" smiley.)

  25. #25
    Regular Member simmonsjoe's Avatar
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    My question was general in nature. All points are well taken. Good discussion.
    illegal ≠ immoral legal ≠ moral
    [SIZE=1]"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. "Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent." - Thomas Jefferson
    G19 Gen 4; Bersa Thunder 380; Sig Sauer P238; Kel-Tec su-16c

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